Over the past month or so, I’ve noticed an increase in my confidence. I was reflecting on why that is and what came to mind is how good I feel in my body. I’ve lost 17 pounds so far and my blood sugar is more in range than it was a year ago.
I’ve been taking a weekly shot of Ozempic since April 26th, 2021, so just over two months of Ozempic. I had been taking Victoza before that for about two months. I do believe having a sense of satiety really helps me manage how much food I eat every day. Not having a sense of constant background hunger really helps. Plus the Victoza/Ozempic helps my blood sugar stay in range more time, which additionally helps with weight loss.
Losing those 17 pounds in combination with how much daily physical exercise I do has changed what my body looks like. The end result is I feel better in my body. I like how I look and feel. No surprise that helps my confidence. I realized the higher weight isn’t where I feel best.
The weight crept up largely because of not having all the needed hormones in my body. Turns out type 1 diabetes is more than a lack of insulin. That lack of additional hormones contributed to my weight gain.
I made a major effort to increase my exercise and I paid even more attention to my calorie consumption. Very little progress on weight loss happened. Needless to say, massive frustration set in.
My first step was to hire a diabetes weight loss coach, Dana Roseman, MPH, CDCES, RDN, from Integrated Diabetes Services. I wrote a blog about the magic of working with Dana. Here it is for your review.
Upon the advice of Dana, I have hired a personal fitness trainer to coach me on weightlifting. My weight lifting coach is Erin Reding, an undergraduate student studying at the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota. Erin is a Certified Personal Trainer and she has a background in Olympic weightlifting.
Weight lifting magic
This may come as a surprise, but I suck at pushing myself hard physically. I think it’s because I spent so much of my childhood escaping my body and the abuse I survived, so pushing myself physically pushes me back into my body. I learned early how to avoid pushing my body hard so as to avoid feeling my body. Turns out that doesn’t work very well when one wants to improve muscle strength.
The end result is that I don’t like to push myself too hard. I’m good at pushing just a little bit, but not too much. In general that’s good for injury avoidance, however, it’s not very helpful for building muscle mass and building physical strength.
Full body weight lifting
Dana suggested that for me to gain more of a shift in my body composition, I would greatly benefit from twice a week full body weight lifting of heavy weights. I mentally recoiled at her suggestion, which is often a big red flag that I ought to consider the suggestion more carefully. Turns out there is evidence that to lose fat, weight lifting is as valuable as consistent cardio. Here’s a current article that explains in detail why that is.
I didn’t know of a full body weightlifting program that one could do twice a week, so I thought about my network and I reached out to my weight lifting friend Linda Brandt to see if she had any suggestions. Indeed she did have a suggestion. Nothing like suggestions galore!
Strong, Healthy & Empowered
Linda sent me a program she helped develop called the SHE Program: Strong Healthy & Empowered, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health. Turns out Linda worked as a Community Program Specialist at the University of Minnesota helping women use the SHE Program.
I reviewed the SHE program and noticed that no way would I get myself to do this workout without having someone teach me how to do each of the exercises in the program.
Saint Paul Gym
I sent Erin Reding, the woman I hired as my personal trainer at the Saint Paul Gym, where I am a member, a copy of the SHE program. When Erin and I met in June to figure out if we “clicked” and to discuss my weight lifting goals, we talked about the SHE program and how it would work for us to use the SHE program. Erin embraced the SHE program! She even designed a workout template to help me keep track of the exercises I do each session.
We agreed to meet once a week for 8 weeks, to get me going on the program. Erin even reached out to Dana to get some guidance on how to help me use the SHE program. The idea being to have me lift heavy weights. YIKES!!
Start slow and build up
Erin and I have met for 4 training sessions so far and I can tell the program is working. I notice I need a bit less insulin the day after lifting. Turns out the repair of the muscle process that the body does after lifting keeps my body burning calories. Pretty cool!
I started with Erin on June 4th and since then I have done two SHE sessions each week. I’m noticing how much stronger I feel. I can tell I feel more present in my body. I like the feeling. I enjoy seeing and feeling the muscles in my legs, my butt, my core, my back and my arms. I notice that I’m sitting up taller. I walk with more confidence and strength. Plus weight lifting is good for my bones. It’s a big win to do the SHE program twice a week.
I have four more sessions with Erin and rather than dreading the sessions, I can tell the support and instruction she gives will keep me going for months and months to come. My goal was to become confident using the weights and machines at the gym and already I feel like I belong. That is comforting!